Sunday, March 11, 2007

So I was shovelling 3.5 metric tonnes of snow off of my driveway the other day and I thought to myself...

"God, I hate this [expletive deleted]ing state." And then it occurred to me: Perhaps I could channel this avalanche (LOL!!1!) of unrestrained rancor into a more useful outlet.

Such as a blog no one pays me to write.

Anyway, the following is a fun and fact-free romp through the natural world of the greatly negligible state of Wisconsin, focusing on its diverse and largely annoying population of indigenous animals (of the non-beer-swilling variety).

BLOG READER WHO SHOULD BE ENTERING EXPENSE REPORTS OR DOING SOMETHING EQUALLY DREARY: Wow. Kind of a long stretch from "snow" to "North American wildlife," don't you think?

Good point. Maybe I'll just skip this entry entirely and read the latest enthralling update on your online diary-uh.

BLOG READER BLAH BLAH BLAH: Oo, today's entry is all about a poem I found on somebody's myspace and a conversation I had with my sister about last night's "Grey's Anatomy!" I also embedded a youtube music video by an artist who's unpopular for a very good reason.

(long, uncomfortable pause)

Are we done here?


Right. Now, on with whatever the hell it is I'm crabbing about this month.

Greetings, children! Have you ever been rudely forced out-of-doors just as you sat down to watch the latest seizure-inducing episode of some creepy Asian cartoon featuring spiky-haired, round-eyed waifs throwing playing cards at one another while shouting gibberish?

What a bummer, right?


So very wrong, stupid. It is essential that you learn to leave the safety, warmth, and comfort of your sturdily-constructed home -- even though it symbolizes the endpoint of the entire reason our species evolved, exited the leopard-infested jungles, and cultivated civilizations in the first place -- for two excellent reasons:

1.) Your mother/legal guardian/babysitter/father's-friend-Lance needs "alone time" to "watch her stories" and "balance her serotonin levels with various prescription medications."

2.) You're getting fat, America. Or so the scare tactics on the television newsmagazine shows would have me believe.

Oh, and Nature is filled with wonders beautiful and intriguing and special and edible and fatal and recyclable and all that.

Why, here in my very own you'd-think-it'd-be-more humble state of Wisconsin, the creatures you're bound to run into while walking in the park wearing just your trenchcoat, or driving 15 miles above the speed limit on dark country roads, or blindly shooting at anything in range, are many and varied, indeed. For instance...

1.) The squirrel

The squirrel is something of Wisconsin's mascot. Only it's not. This is because squirrels are about as prevalent as grass, rocks, and glassy-eyed Packer fans in our state. Jittery, greedy, and ubiquitous, the squirrel is the bane of little old ladies' birdfeeders and acorn activists everywhere.

There are two main species of squirrel in Wisconsin: grey and red (which is apparently Latin for "kinda brownish"). As you can see, the scientific community didn't bother wasting any more time naming these humdrum tree-humpers than they absolutely had to.

2.) The white-tailed deer

This flighty, embarrassingly cowardly ungulate earns its name due to the white strip of fur located on the underside of its stubby tail. While bounding gracefully away from hunters -- many of whom, apart from being homely, are also apparently bad at hunting -- these yellow-bellied bastards flick the whites of their tails in the air as something of an artiodactylian "fuck you" to their would-be murderers.

For hundreds of thousands of years, the deer population participated in a finely-tuned predator-prey relationship with the wolves, cougars, and bears also found in our state. Eventually, however, scores of settlers of European extraction showed up and had a lot of firearms on their hands, but not a lot of legal reasons to shoot other European settlers (having duly cleared out the Not-Technically-Indians years earlier). Now, I imagine none of them had the foresight to actually plan to decimate the natural predators of the most common large herbivore in the Midwest in a concerted effort to skyrocket the deer population, thus granting future sportsmen a viable excuse to squat in the woods once a year and visit STD-riddled strip bars, but decimate them they did...

... And now I'm dodging North America's sorry answer to the antelope every night on Hwy 57. Thanks a lot, Puritans.

3.) The black bear

People are always disagreeing about the proper way to conduct oneself in the event they encounter a bear. Should you play dead? Offer it your backpack? Stand up to it? Poke it with a stick? Walk backwards calmly? Do the hokey-pokey? Turn yourself around?

Here is T.C.I.'s personal, time-tested strategy for avoiding a traumatic bear-mauling:

Don't go to where bears are.

Works. Every time.

4.) The raccoon

Ah, yes. The raccoon. Nature's hobo. Digging through your trash can, washing rotten apples in the local water supply, eating things that people listed in the Guinness Book of World Records wouldn't put near their oral cavities... the raccoon is truly a filthy fucking bum.

To make matters worse, the new mothers are always getting run over by cars, leaving their squalling, helpless babies on the side of the road to send shooting pains of sympathy down your aorta. Please be forewarned, however. T.C.I.'s family, being suckers for lice-ridden potential rabies-carriers, took it upon themselves to "save" two such orphaned transients once upon a time. This was fun for a few days...

...though not for the raccoons, I imagine, seeing as how they promptly died.

The point, my little cynickites, is this: God clearly hates the raccoon, and wishes him to eat garbage and suffer traffic-related deaths. It is not for you to interfere with His divine plan, no matter how sadistic and amusing it is.

5.) The mosquito

On the other hand, God, that unpredictable deviant deity, adores the fucking mosquito. Why else would they be so relentless, so prolific, so successful, so goddamned motherfucking annoying as all ass-loving shit?

However, they do help spread various useful deadly diseases, such as malaria (which primarily afflicts pretentious globetrotters who brag about crawling around in swamps during the two weeks off from their adventurous job in claims processing) and the West Nile virus (which gave an easily-panicked America something to obsess about after the anthrax scare died down). They also target sweaty fat folks with a procilivity for bananas. And woman-abusers rejoice: only the female mosquito sucks blood. So, that bug yer squishin' on that favorite BBQ-stained wifebeater of yours? It's yet another woman who jes' made you so durned mad sometimes, y'know?

But you still love her. She knows you do.

6.) The robin

The robin is Wisconsin's state bird. They're brown and orange -- the two ugliest colors in the Crayola box -- and are completely unremarkable in every way.

They pull a lot of worms out of your lawn, though. I don't -- don't know if that's good or bad, per se, but it's about the only damn notable thing I've ever seen them do.

7.) The opossum

The opossum is North America's only marsupial*. It looks like an acromegalic rat, behaves like a badger with hemorrhoids, and plays dead more often than your myspace-obsessed emo daughter (potential roadkill that pretends it's actual roadkill. Hee, hee. That Mother Nature is one amusingly twisted old bitch, I tell you what).

* An old Australian word meaning "freak of nature."

Everyone I've ever met has confessed an almost pathological hatred of the poor opossum, and frankly, it's a bit hard to argue with them. Mrs. T.C.I. is especially antagonistic towards the prehensile-tailed bastards. Them, and chickens.

She was raised on a farm. I offer this by way of some explanation.

8.) The rabbit

In case you've been wondering -- and, let's face it, you have -- the difference between bunnies and rabbits is this:

Bunnies are small and fuzzy and cute and appear on TV to hawk cream-filled chocolates during the Messiah of the Living Dead season.

Rabbits eat your pretty flowers, and therefore must be destroyed at all costs.

Mrs. T.C.I. was told that planting marigolds around one's less-obnoxiously-colored flora will deter the ravenous monstrosity that is The Rabbit on account of its vile taste. My sarcastic thanks to the old wife who told her that tale, because now I've got stupid yellow flowers all over my fucking yard, and I hate yellow.

Anyone even thinks about suggesting pink carnations as a natural deterrent to water mocassions and you can take the matter up with my fists, you ass nuggets.

Anyway, a rabbit is the first animal I ever killed after I first learned to drive. My girlfriend at the time, who was in the vehicle when the tragedy occured, thought this was rather humorous. She was also a mind-boggling slut. I'm not sure if one story informs the other...

9.) The water mocassion

Speaking of which, these are big, black, badass snakes, kind of the class Reptilia's answer to Shaft. They sound cool and are wildly deadly and apparently we have them around here.

Naturally, I've never seen one.

Now that I think about it, that might be a good thing. And since we're on the topic of dangerous reptiles...

10.) The coral snake

The coral snake is red and black and yellow, or red and black, or red and yellow, or black and red and yellow and black, or something. It looks amazingly similar to the king snake, which is also a combination of red and/or black and/or yellow, and is poisonous.

Or maybe it's the coral snake that's poisonous*. No one but the field guides ever seems to know, and they're probably just guessing to begin with.

* This is actually true: To be accurate, I should have used the term "venomous" when describing the coral and/or king snake. Animals are venomous; plants are poisonous. However, you are an ignoramus, so I'll simply pander to your deeply-ingrained lack of herpetological training. Idiot.

Here is a helpful, popular, thoroughly unscientific rhyme you can recite to yourself after a colorful serpent bites you in the middle of nowhere:

"Red on black, your name is Jack;
Red on yellow, and it might be a different species altogether, but maybe not. I'm not sure."

Or wait, maybe it goes like this:

"Red on yellow, you're an ugly fellow;
Red on black, there might also be a thin white band separating the two. Or am I thinking of a corn snake? A milk snake? You know, I can't remember. Forget I mentioned it."

Since the coral and king snake are so cruelly indistinguishable, there is really only one thing you can do when faced with such a reptile: Pick it up and let it bite you.

If your hand turns red and starts to swell, it means you probably shouldn't go around picking up wild animals, Marlon Perkins.

11.) The garter snake

Go ahead and pick these guys up. They're pussies.

12.) The bluegill

Bluegills are the pigeons of the sea. They're in every goddamned festering puddle of duckshit from here to eternity, and they're always eating your best nightcrawlers while you're out fishing for actual fish. The only purpose the bluegill serves is to convince the DNR to let you pour gravel around your pier, since the lousy panfish love building nests among the rocks.

Rocks that you laid down, enabling the bluegills to create more stinking bluegills, and thus the intricate dance that is Life continues...

... as sanctioned by the Department of Natural Resources.

13.) The Canada goose

I have nothing to say about these omnipresent shit-spreaders other than to bellyache about their common name:

If you want to specify which goose you're referring to -- "goose" being the noun in this phrase -- shouldn't the adjective used be "Canadian?" What's this "Canada goose" crap?

That's all.

14.) The honeybee

If I see one more woman yelp and jump and wildly flail her arms at the mere sight of one of these glorified mosquitos, I'm gonna give her something to yelp about. You outweigh the fucking thing by 165+ pounds, girlie. It's time to grow the hell up, don't you think?

If you see a spider, on the other hand, well... carry on. Spiders scare the shit out of T.C.I.

15.) The cicada

The cicada is a giant, grotesquely malformed fly that is renowned for its ability to hibernate for 17 years before emerging, perching on the drainpipe just outside your bedroom window, and emitting the most god-awful buzz for hours on end while you're trying to sleep in on Saturday morning.

16.) The blue jay

The blue jay picks on weaker birds, mocks larger ones, hogs all the good seed at the feeder, and abandons its young if a predator treads too closely.

Needless to say, this is my single favorite creature on the North American continent.

Okay, so those are more than enough descriptions of Midwestern food chain placeholders to keep you rascals away from your actual jobs for a few hours.

And please, don't anyone leave a comment saying "Oh, you forgot to mention the beaver! Hee, hee! Get it? Beaver! LOL!" I'm not listing every fucking animal that squats in this miserable wasteland, all right? I've got other things to avoid doing.

BLOG READER WITH TOO MUCH UNSTRUCTURED FREE TIME: You seem to bitch about your home state an awful lot. So which is your favorite state in the Union?

Um... Canada.

BLOG READER ETC.: First of all, not especially funny or original. Secondly, I thought you hated extreme cold and people who choose to speak French over English.

Oh, right. Okay, um... Mexico.

BLOG READER ETC: I thought you hated extreme heat and people who bitch about the government of the neighboring country they illegally sneak into rather than demand rampant reforms from their own nation's ass-munching president?

Oh, yeah. Well, I don't know. I guess Rhode Island hasn't pissed me off lately.

In closing, I also ran over a cat once. I got over it.

Please join T.C.I. in mourning the loss of an endless fount of unique anecdotes: As of the last day of February 2007, I am no longer employed at the fish lab. It was time for me to find a position closer to home, one that paid more and offered nicer (read: any) benefits, and one far less interesting, satisfying, or purposeful. That's right, T.C.I. is now a reluctant and continually kvetching clutcher of the bottom rung of Corporate America's Ladder of Crushed Dreams.

Sadly, the women of Corporate America are far less intoxicating to look upon than co-ed science hotties in their form-fitting tank tops. Ahhh, the sacrifices I make to shut my damn wife up...

Pressing question: Why don't more psychopaths go on bloody shooting sprees in the average office workplace? I mean, high schools, factories, shopping malls, freeways... all perfect places for the soul to wither away in, sure, but really: For pure, unfiltered insanity cultivation, is there any more ideal spot for a madman with a high-caliber rifle and a kink in his beleagured heart to express his dissatisfaction with Life in general than your run-of-the-mill cubicle maze?

Not-- not that I have any plans at the moment, mind you...

Heh, heh. Um, moving on...


The guy who plows our road

For reference, here is an artist's conception of what this jacktard looks like:

Yep. That's him. I imagine.

Since my house is located on the corner of two suburban roads, this dick monkey is always -- maliciously, I assume -- depositing mounds of heavily-packed, all-but-immovable snow right at the end of our driveway. And he's doing it on purpose. I just know he is.

Oh, the innumerable, crushing woes of the American bourgeoisie...

In any case, I hope he contracts West Nile virus and dies.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Thanks Mr Science for another highly informative lesson on the animals of WI that mostly piss me off.

Sgt Mellors

7:49 PM  
Blogger Patelicious said...

For those keeping track, the colors currently hated by TCI are brown, orange, yellow, and pink. Next week: Letters of the alphabet that have screwed me over.

And bluegill are delicious--much more so than pigeons, I imagine, but then again you couldn't pay me to eat a pigeon. Although now that Fear Factor is canceled it looks like no one will ever pay me to eat a pigeon anyway.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting that the crazy snow plower has 7 fingers...

9:19 PM  
Blogger Quietly said...

on the off chance you'd get a kick out of it:

12:42 PM  

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